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Isabelle Chapuis




Awarded by Picto Prize 2010

This is a plastic working based on research on the sticky flesh color. I wish to refer to organic matter in contrast with a decidedly aesthetic writing. Such a double skin fragile appearance, becomes a sticky filament fabric, durable and enveloping, where all transformation can take place.


staging of a pictorial process

Fascinated by the story of Luisa Casati, Isabelle Chapuis created a modern portrait of the famous muse.

Of all the Marchesas, Italian Luisa Casati (1881-1957) remains the most intriguing, eccentric and whimsical. According to history, she squandered her fortune in an attempt to turn her life into a work of art. She had a steady gaze and translucent skin, but the famous marchesa's true beauty resided in her imperfections.

She was a muse to many, including painters, jewelers, perfumers, designers and writers. One of the artists she inspired was Giovanni Boldini. In his portrait of the Marchesa, the subject merges with the background. Boldini dispenses with a landscape setting, choosing a neutral background instead, enlivened by the subtle and vivid touch that is characteristic of his style.

Working with yards of fabric, photographer Isabelle Chapuis sought to recreate the almost monochromatic pictorial process.  She asked costume designer Aurelia Maury to hand sew a dress that emerged yet was part of a wide swath of fabric. The marchesa led a tumultuous life. In the same spirit of excess, it is hard to tell if she is emerging from the fabric or being swallowed up in its folds.

Isabelle Chapuis